Spiers & Boden

Vagabond

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For their fifth outing together, Spiers and Boden don't do anything radically different from what they've done before -- they just do it better, with more refinement, and panache added from time spent fronting their big band, Bellowhead. Apart from a couple of familiar pieces -- the Morris tunes "Speed the Plough" and "Princess Royal," they delve deep into the traditional bag (with a couple of self-penned tunes for good measure), digging out unusual pieces like the opener "Tom Padget," and pillage the Peter Bellamy archive for a couple of pieces, including the stirring pirate song, "Captain Ward." They do tender as well as roaring, and "Mary Anne" holds a lingering beauty, while "The Rain It Rains" puts Shakespeare in a musical setting. What really shows is the empathy between them, the way instruments cut and support each other, fiddle and melodeon working wonderfully together, while Boden's guitar playing adds an effective extra color to the proceedings. He's in great voice, too, a singer of undisputed quality now, brimming over with passion and emotion. So, although there's nothing exactly new, it definitely is improved.

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